Apart from Spa and Monza, I haven’t wanted to attend any other Formula 1 race. In MotoGP, it’s Laguna Seca. For almost everything else, I’d much rather be sprawled at home, chai in hand and watch the action in detail, with the advantage of slow-motion and replay. The thousands of cameras around the circuit help you see and hear everything. It’s the best way to see everything and miss nothing. Or so I thought.
You're Narain Karthikeyan, the fastest Indian in the world. It's 1459hrs IST, Sunday, the 30th of October, seconds before the start of the first Indian Formula 1 Grand Prix. Sweat drips down through your balaclava onto your forehead as the heat from the Cosworth V8 racing engine sitting behind you radiates through the chassis. Your mind should be a jumble of thoughts and flashbacks, with a million possibilities coursing through. It really should. You are, after all, sitting in a lightweight single-seat racing machine that can send 760bhp to the rear wheels, just like that. And does it help that there are 24 similarly unhinged nuts in close proximity, revving the hell out their engines, eyes firmly fixed on the red lights ahead? You should be worried about getting the launch right, fretting about finding a gap in the pack at the start, or paying attention to dropping tyre temperatures. You should be cursing that your own HRT isn't much faster than a hopped-up bullock cart and frustrated by the totally unrealistic expectations of some of your less well-informed home crowd.
Back in the late ’90s, Maruti didn’t provide power-steering systems on their small hatchbacks. “They don’t really need them,” said a spokesperson. But Korean upstarts Hyundai and Daewoo knew better and gave the Santro and Matiz the power-steering advantage.
The laser display was pretty spectacular as were the leggy women who strutted and danced on stage. Yet, the show wasn't riveting enough to stop some of the audience from checking their BlackBerrys, chatting with each other or even taking the odd phone call, despite the eardrum-busting music. It makes you wonder if all that expense of putting on such a show is worth it, especially when the only thing that everyone was interested in was to see, for the first time, the XUV500 in the metal.
2017 Maruti Ignis review, test drive
Maruti S-Cross long-term review, final report
2016 BMW 330i GT review, test drive
2016 Hyundai Elantra petrol long-term review first report
Volvo XC90 T8 Excellence review, test drive
Issue: 209 | Autocar India: January 2017
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